Guest Contributor: Sandy Keeter, Seminole State College, Florida.

Engaging and motivating students is ALWAYS a challenge. How do YOU encourage them to come to class, much less do the work and think critically? We have a few solutions! Last year, we completely renovated our “Basic Computer Concepts” course to make it more current, appealing and relevant. The new name is “Computer and Internet Literacy” and the only book we use is Emerge with Computers – Online. By using this product, we have created an environment that encourages students to do what they all love to do – SURF the Web. Beyond that, we use real-life, online, social media tools and gadgets to engage, motivate and teach our students.

By using Emerge with Computers, flipping our classroom, and embedding real life, interesting projects into our course, our students have become MORE excited about and engaged in the material. Outside of class, at their leisure, students read, take notes, and watch videos. During class time, they work collaboratively in Facebook, WordPress, OneDrive and Google Apps, while researching and discussing many interesting new computer concepts! We also embed and utilize an e-mentor and e-librarian within our LMS to help them when lost online or while doing some of their research.

Starting each class with CourseCasts, we discuss important current events that link to concepts taught that week in class and then students blog about it! We provide dilemmas that require students to work in teams and think critically, while integrating new concepts and considering all sides of a current technology issue. By blogging or posting to an online discussion forum, or working in OneDrive or Google Drive, students can then share their thoughts or findings with the class so everyone can join in and work collaboratively.

One of the students’ favorite topics is Privacy and Security and how it applies to their own social media sites. They review the terms and policies for their various accounts and change or modify their settings to be sure they are showing the world (or a future employer) exactly what they want them to see. They are engaged, motivated, and super invested in this project, and to top it off they think more critically about the results of their poor settings!

We’re already looking at ways to improve the course, by using MindTap Reader and SAM for more assessment and training and ENGAGEMENT opportunities. The technology world is changing rapidly, so we’re ready to keep changing the material we teach and how we teach it!


Sandy Keeter is a retired USAF officer and has been using and teaching technology since the 80’s; she has seen the rapid changes firsthand! She’s currently a Professor in the Information Technology Department at Seminole State College in Florida and has attended nearly eighteen Cengage Learning conferences, and presented at many of them. As a Microsoft Office Specialist and SAM Technology Power User, she’s available for presentations and training, working closely with Learning Consultants and Engagement Services to help you and your students get the most out of technology! 


How do you foster computer literacy among your students? Have you tried any of the strategies Sandy Keeter describes? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments!